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The Long and Winding History of the Backyard BBQ (Infographic)

  • by
  • Gene Caballero
  • March 18, 2021

Ever wondered about the history of grilling? Well, this illustration shows the long evolution of the backyard BBQ. From the cave fires to the charcoal grill. This history makes choosing the right grill all the more complex. Here is what we know about the history of the BBQ, yet there is much more to learn in the infographic.

What was the first backyard BBQ?

Well, that's hard to know. Perhaps the first BBQ was a roasting mammoth thigh on some loose sticks that caught fire in a lightning storm. However, the first recorded grills come from Japan and these records refer to the Shichirin. Which was a ceramic grill that was used in family homes. 

What was the first “American” BBQ?

In America, we can track grills back to the 18th century. These BBQs were known as pit-barbecues which began to spread from eastern- North Carolina. And eventually made their way westward. To this day Carolina BBQ is a famous tradition.

When did charcoal begin being used for grilling?

In 1897, E.G. Kingsford, a relative of Henry Ford began to popularize and capitalize on the charcoal grill. Still to this day, Kingsford is a household name when it comes to charcoal. Nowadays you would be hard-pressed to find someone that has not eaten off of a charcoal grill. 

The First Mass Produced Grill

It wouldn't be until the 1950’s that the all so familiar form of backyard BBQ we know today began to come about. With the invention of the Sputnik Grill, homeowners would afford to purchase and own grills of their own. 

When did the first gas grill come about?

Contrary to popular belief, King Hill did not invent the gas-powered grill. Yet, soon after the charcoal grill, gas grills followed in the 1960s. William Wepfer and Melton Lancaster invented the gas power grill while working for the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company. 


As you can see the history of the backyard BBQ is a long and winding one. Enveloping many cultures throughout its evolution. While much of the history is buried in the sands of time, there are many interesting things we do still know today. This infographic comes from Become.com. Feel free to share this article on your social media to share this rich history.


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